In a world where canned responses and key cards, listings and lock boxes are commonplace, true rural hospitality is a rare gem. There’s certainly a place for these amenities, but if you’re looking for an Ontario fall getaway with a human touch, Hastings County specializes in comforting B&B style lodging with convenient access to some of the best Ontario gravel bike routes for fall colour peeping trips.
For cyclists, B&B and rural inn accommodations are ideal, offering more options for safe and secure bike storage than your typical hotel would have. Beyond that, choosing lodging with an on-site and engaged host means local insight and expertise are on tap. Here, we’ve paired three boutique accommodators with tried and tested Hastings County gravel cycling and backroad-focused routes that are perfect for peak fall cycling getaways during the cooler days ahead.
Trip 1: Stirling & Marmora
Distance: 2.5h from Ottawa, 2h from Toronto
The Route: Two Bridges and a Mill
Rambling through farm country between Stirling and Marmora is best in the fall, when the cooler temperatures take the edge off the elevation gains and the climbs make way for panoramic colour viewing. Be prepared for consistent ups-and-downs on this route, and don’t be surprised if you can count the number of cars you see on one hand. You’ll pass by Nine Hand Hill Farm on the second part of the route: detour up the driveway to check it out, and plan to come back with your vehicle after the ride to stock up on take-home farmhouse freezer meals to last through the winter.
The Food: Springbrook Diner
A local favourite that’s a quick drive from your accommodation, Springbrook Diner serves up all the classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
More to Do: Cabin Boy Knits
Take a rest day after your ride and visit Cabin Boy Knits for naturally-dyed yarn supplies that knit together farmers, weavers, spinners, knitters and artisans.
Where to Stay: Huntingdon House B&B
The historic stone church at Huntingdon House converted into a cozy suite is the perfect place to unwind with multiple fireplaces and a jacuzzi tub to soak after a ride.
Trip 2: Bancroft & Faraday
Distance: 2.5h from Ottawa, 2.5h from Toronto
The Route: Funky Monck Out-and-Back
Driving this road over the May long weekend had our route-creators inspired: we knew we had to come back and bike this curvy, gravel cottage road that starts just outside of Bancroft and winds up to Paudash Lake. Pack a lunch for your halfway point stop at Paudash Beach, and head back towards Bancroft to see the views from the other direction on this out-and-back route.
The Food: Local Favourites at The Granite
You can’t miss a stop at The Granite, Bancroft’s hot spot for locals and visitors. Fall is “shoulder season” in Hastings County: the cottage crowds are gone and the snowmobiles haven’t hit the trails yet, so parking and tables are easier to come by.
More to Do: Hike the Gut
The perfect place to stretch your legs before a long car ride home, The Gut Conservation Area is a short hike located east of Apsley, ON, where the Crowe River rushes through a gorge and can be viewed through a lookout.
Where to Stay: Bancroft B&B
Victorian charm is the guarantee at Bancroft B&B. Enjoy your breakfast in front of the fireplace before heading out on your ride.
Trip 3: Tweed
Distance: 2h from Ottawa, 2.25h from Toronto
The Route: Rolling Hills & River Roads
A quiet and remote route, this loop heads out of Tweed and skirts around Madoc, with 80% of your ride taking place on dirt roads. It’s a longer, more challenging gravel route with the Canadian Shield on full display. Prepare for a day on the road with extra snacks and water, a packed lunch, and battery packs for your devices. You’ll feel refreshed by the time you roll back into Tweed on the Trans-Canada Trail.
The Food: Tweed Desi
Dreaming about take-out often gets us through the last stretch of a long ride, and Tweed Desi is often on our list. Pick up your dinner and enjoy it by Stoco Lake before heading back to the retreat to turn in for the night.
More to Do: Tweed & Company Theatre
Make a weekend out of your ride by planning your trip around an upcoming theatre show, film screening or musical act put on by the Tweed & Company Theatre at the Marble Arts Centre in Tweed as well as the Bancroft Village Playhouse.
Where to Stay: Black River Retreat
Known as Ontario’s top couples retreat, this spot caters to only one pair at a time, so book your fall overnight at Black River Retreat before October and November are full!
Want to Ride?
You can find more Hastings County gravel route inspiration on Ride With GPS, where local riders share their favourite routes with turn-by-turn navigation and points of interest. Join our Ride With GPS Club to get notified when new routes are added to the collection and get pro features when you Explore Hastings County gravel routes.
Looking for more Wildly Authentic adventures and experiences in Hastings County? Visit the website hastings.ca/adventures to learn more and explore.
Plan Your Fall Cycling Stay in Hastings County
Sponsored Content Partner: Hastings County
Article written by Laura Voskamp.
Photos Credits: 1, 6 – Hastings County, 2, 4, 7 – Laura Voskamp, 3 – Huntingdon House B&B, 5 – Jacob Côté Photography @ jacobcotephoto, 8 – Black River Retreat